A lesson in learning from Central Georgia Council’s Echeconnee Lodge

By Herb Dodds

Leadership and continued development have always been two key ingredients to running a successful organization. The Arrowmen in Echeconnee Lodge of the Central Georgia Council take this idea very seriously. Lodge Chief Kenny Higginbotham recently sat down to walk us through how a successfully run LLD weekend should look.

It all starts with the lodge chief having a conversation with his lodge adviser and the Lodge Executive Committee (LEC) to formulate a plan of which training cells to teach and which activities to hold. Training is not just left to one person; usually, assignments are made by committee regarding each training cell. This allows everyone to get some experience running a training session, and diversifies the viewpoints and personalities of the event to keep its attendees interested.

In addition to the usual sessions discussing the responsibilities of each position and what goals the lodge wants to set for the following year, the lodge also includes sessions that will help the LEC improve the lodge during the coming year. Last year, sessions included topics such as on how to effectively use the OA Lodge Master program, the extended Elangomat/clan system, and the OA Troop Representative program. There was also a session titled “It's More than a Sash” to motivate the Arrowmen to learn how they can further apply the principles of the OA within their roles as lodge leaders.

Most importantly, they make sure to schedule breaks throughout the day to give the Arrowmen a chance to relax. During breaks, Arrowmen are encouraged to participate in field sports, try their luck on the shooting ranges, or participate in a game of manhunt, board games, or other fun activities. The fellowship generated through these periods of recreation allow for continued discussion and the sharing of ideas amongst the lodge's youth and adult populations.

Higginbotham said the key to a successful training is to choose event organizers who are passionate about what they're doing. “Don't think of training sessions as a boring, meaningless task,” he said. “If you approach a training session as a chore, you will teach the session in that manner and the Arrowmen will not be attentive. Have a variety of people teach each training session; this makes each training session different from the last and keeps them engaging.”

Higginbotham also suggest that organizers plan sessions that are interactive. His lodge has found that sessions that involve Arrowmen working in groups, moving around or exercising their brain more than usual will elicit more participation. Ultimately, the more an Arrowman is engaged, the more he'll get out of a training session.

Has your lodge recently gone the extra mile to make an event shine? Does your LEC operate programs that are uniquely suited to benefit local Arrowmen? Share your successes with us by emailing your highlights to content@oa-bsa.org.